Like the famous 12th century abbot and theologian Joachim of Fiore, I came to the study of apocalypticism later in life! But over the past five years, I have been very engaged with the subject. My primary research interests include apocalyptic literature of the 3rd and 4th centuries, the early medieval commentary tradition on the Revelation of John, and apocalyptic paradigms in music. Current book projects include editing the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Apocalyptic Literature, producing the first English translation of the 8th century Cambridge Glossa in Apocalypsin (edited by Msgr. Roger Gryson in the Brepols series Corpus Christianorum) and, in collaboration with Lorenzo DiTommaso at Concordia University, co-editing a collection of essays entitled Dies Irae, Dies Illa: Music in the Apocalyptic Mode. I am a member of the North American Patristics Society and serve on the advisory board of the UCCS Center for Religious Diversity and Public Life. Much of what I engage with in the disciplines of history and religious studies inform my practice as a musician.
Each spring, I host Through a Glass, Darkly: UCCS Symposium on Apocalyptic at the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities. Upcoming and former presenters include: Dylan M. Burns (Free University of Berlin), John J. Collins (Yale Divinity School), David Cook (Rice University), Lorenzo DiTommaso (Concordia University), Jesse Hoover (Baylor University), Daniel G. Hummel (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Nathaniel Kidd (Marquette University), E. Ann Matter (University of Pennsylvania), Bernard McGinn (University of Chicago Divinity School), Ian Paul (University of Nottingham), Omar Rojas Camarena (Mexico City), and several colleagues from my home university (Brian Duvick, Francis X. Gumerlock, Suzanne MacAulay and Jeff Scholes). I also teach a concomitant course in the Humanities program at UCCS called Visions of Darkness: Apocalypse in Literature and History. For more information on the symposium, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/1046805372109088/.
The Cambridge gloss on the Apocalypse of John: Sources, Transmission and the Lost HL Commentary
The Cambridge University Library Glossa in Apocalypsin (Dd.X.16) (composed ca. AD 750-900) is the most recently-discovered text in the rich tradition of latin medieval commentaries on the Apocalypse. An essential pillar in Mgsr. Roger Gryson’s recent reconstruction of the commentary of Tyconius, the Cambridge gloss introduces certain novelties into the early-medieval commentary tradition and may tell us much about how sources have been faithfully transmitted or altered. Due to its close resemblance with the Micy Bible and the Irish Reference Bible, scholars have posited the existence of a lost Hiberno-Latin commentary that underlies all three texts. This paper situates the Cambridge gloss within the rich medieval commentary tradition on the Apocalypse and discusses its sources, particularly Tyconius. I summarize the relevant historiography, comment on the Latinity of the text itself, and provide a translation into English of two sample passages. I also compare the text with that of the Reference Bible and the Micy Bible, and discuss the possible reconstruction of the HL Commentary, a project I have commenced with Dr. Francis X. Gumerlock. I contend that by doing so, we will have a more well-informed understanding of the medieval interpretation of the Apocalypse of John, the sources of this interpretation and the accuracy with which they were transmitted.
Regnum Caelorum Terrestre: The Apocalyptic Vision of Lactantius
The writings of the early fourth-century Christian apologist L. Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius have been extensively studied by historians, classicists, philosophers and theologians. But his unique apocalyptic eschatology expounded in book VII of the Divinae Institutiones, his largest work, has been relatively neglected. This paper will distill Lactantius’s complex narrative and summarize his sources. In particular, I investigate his chiliasm and the nature of the intermediate state, as well as his portrayal of the Antichrist. I argue that his apocalypticism is not an indiscriminate synthesis of varying sources – as it often stated – but is essentially based on the Book of Revelation and other Patristic sources.